Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is creating a TV show about his early life, Young Rock, for NBC. Now he has found the man to play his father, the late Rocky Johnson. Joseph Lee Anderson (S.W.A.T., Harriet) will officially lace up his wrestling boots and step into the ring for the new series.
Johnson announced the role on Instagram while revealing that the first episode will be dedicated to his father, who passed away in January. "My dad was a true trail blazer and broke color barriers all across our country in the 60s, 70s & 80s. One half of the first black tag team champions (with Tony Atlas) my pops was a bad dude in the game," Johnson said in the caption of his post. Anderson also expressed his excitement for the new opportunity with a similar post on his own page.
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Since the announcement, Anderson has provided several updates about his preparation for this upcoming role. He revealed that he has gained 15 pounds of muscle while grinding in the gym. He also showed off the "Rocky Johnson look" with the mustache and similar haircut. The work is not over, however, considering that the iconic wrestler was a very big — and very fit — man.
Along with Anderson, several prominent actors will join Young Rock to highlight different portions of Johnson's life. Bradley Constant will play the 15-year-old version of Johnson while Stacey Leilua will play Johnson's mother, Ata Johnson. Uli Latukefu will play the 20-year-old version of Johnson that played college football for the University of Miami. Ana Tuisila will play Johnson's grandmother, Lia Maivia, while Adrian Groulx will be the 10-year-old Johnson, also known as Dewey.
"I've told many many stories, many of them unbelievable, but all of them true," Johnson said in January alongside the show announcement. "You'll find Young Rock wreaking havoc in the streets of Hawaii, getting arrested doing a lot of things I shouldn't do. We were evicted off the island and moved, to all places, Nashville, Tennessee."
"Imagine me being in downtown Nashville, listening to country music at 15 years old, buying my first car from a crackhead for $70," Johnson continued. "We go into my high school years as Young Rock, and my role as a University of Miami football star, until I got beaten out of my position by a young man named Warren Sapp, who went on to become one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time."
NBC originally gave Young Rock an 11-episode series order, but there is no concrete release date. Nahnatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang, who are both executive producers on the series, wrote the pilot. Other executive producers include Johnson, Danny Garcia, Hiram Garzia, Brian Gewirtz and Jennier Carreras. Universal Television, Seven Bucks Productions and Khan's Fierce Baby Productions are producing the series.